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  1. #1
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    Default to read a magazine / the magazine

    To read a magazine or to read the magazine?

    Which variant is more common (or correct)?

  2. #2
    JohnParis's Avatar
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Both are common and correct. Their proper usage will depend upon the context in which you employ them.

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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    Both are common and correct. Their proper usage will depend upon the context in which you employ them.
    Does it mean that I can say either "I am reading a magazine" or "I am reading the magazine" if there is no any context?
    But if there is the concrete magazine (eg. Times), it will be "I am reading the Times"?

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Yes, very good examples.

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Quote Originally Posted by Current View Post
    To read a magazine or to read the magazine?

    Which variant is more common (or correct)?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Great question!

    (2) Mother: Can you help me prepare dinner, please?

    Daughter: Sorry, Mom. But I'm reading a magazine now.

    Mother: I don't care what you're reading! Get into the kitchen right now, young lady!

    ***

    (3) Son: Hey, Dad, have you had time to read the copy of Newsweek that I gave you

    yesterday?

    Father: I am reading the magazine [that you gave me] right now. ["The" = something like "that."]

    ***

    Mother: Can you help me prepare dinner, please?

    Daughter: I'm busy, Mom, reading the newspaper. [I think that 'the" would be

    more likely because -- at least in the United States -- most people read only one

    newspaper -- the [that] newspaper that comes to the house every morning. On the other

    hand, magazines -- in theory -- are more plentiful, so you would not refer to the

    magazine, except in the case of my son/father dialogue.]

    ***

    People usually ask, "Have you read the paper today?" [When they ask this,

    they are not necessarily referring to a specific newspaper. It's almost like: Have

    you read any newspaper today?]

    But people would look at you very strangely if you asked "Have you read the

    magazine today?" [Again, unless you were referring to a specific magazine.]

  6. #6
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Hi, dear Parser.
    Code:
    Have you read the paper today?
    Can I ask this question to my neighbor friends or uncles who read newspapers? I want to ask the question definitely because I know which newspapers they read.

    Thank you very much....

  7. #7
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I think that you are 100% correct: "Have you read the paper today?" simply means

    whether or not they have read any newspaper. I don't think that it matters whether or

    not you know the specific papers that they usually read. (I hear that there are MANY

    newspapers in your country. Here, most American cities have only one newspaper!)

    I think that people might ask (or used to ask before the Internet destroyed newspapers

    in this country): Have you seen the papers? There is a big story about ....

    (In the old days when there were many newspapers -- most big cities had at least

    5 daily papers when I was young -- "Have you seen the papers?" might have meant

    something like "Have you seen one or more of the papers?" Maybe today, we

    might say "Have you heard the news?" (here "heard" could really mean "to find

    out about.") So it could refer to the radio, TV, the Internet, and newspapers.

    Thanks for your great question. I love journalism.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    "The Times" is a daily newspaper in the UK, not a magazine. On a Sunday, the newspaper contains a magazine as well and it's called "The Sunday Times Magazine" to differentiate it from the newspaper.

    "Time" is a well-known magazine. If you were reading that, you would not use an article at all.

    I'm reading Time [magazine].
    I'm reading a copy of Time.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Great question!

    (2) Mother: Can you help me prepare dinner, please?

    Daughter: Sorry, Mom. But I'm reading a magazine now.

    Mother: I don't care what you're reading! Get into the kitchen right now, young lady!

    ***

    (3) Son: Hey, Dad, have you had time to read the copy of Newsweek that I gave you

    yesterday?

    Father: I am reading the magazine [that you gave me] right now. ["The" = something like "that."]

    ***

    Mother: Can you help me prepare dinner, please?

    Daughter: I'm busy, Mom, reading the newspaper. [I think that 'the" would be

    more likely because -- at least in the United States -- most people read only one

    newspaper -- the [that] newspaper that comes to the house every morning. On the other

    hand, magazines -- in theory -- are more plentiful, so you would not refer to the

    magazine, except in the case of my son/father dialogue.]

    ***

    People usually ask, "Have you read the paper today?" [When they ask this,

    they are not necessarily referring to a specific newspaper. It's almost like: Have

    you read any newspaper today?]

    But people would look at you very strangely if you asked "Have you read the

    magazine today?" [Again, unless you were referring to a specific magazine.]
    Thanks a lot!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: to read a magazine / the magazine

    Not a teacher.

    I think the thread starter got confused with the use of the definite article when it come to its use in special cases. When I was reading about the definite article, I came across three such special cases of the article:

    Special case-1: Use with media and communications:
    Eg: The newspaper, the internet, the telephone. TV being an exception here.

    But note that we use 'the' only when we refer to these things in whole. I mean if we were to take telephone as a system, we call it as 'the telephone', but when we talk about the machine alone, it will be incorrect to say 'the telephone'. The same goes with newspaper etc.

    Special case-2: Use with transportation:
    Eg: The railway, the subway etc

    Special case-3: Use with forms of entertainment:
    Eg: The ballet etc.


    Post script:
    The rest of the rules have been very well been explained by the teachers. I.e, when we refer to a specific thing we use the definite article with it, else, indefinite article, or no article.
    Last edited by aachu; 28-Jan-2012 at 17:41.

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